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Education, Training, Development category

Education | Training | Development

Presented by:

Celebrating the women and girls who build Hamilton and Halton

Hamilton and Halton’s most prestigious event honouring women and girls

Meet the 2022 Award Nominees and Winners

Winners from the previous years

Have questions? Contact a member of our team.

Presented by:

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This award honours a woman who mentors and empowers others by giving them the tools they need to make positive changes in their lives. She contributes through practice, research or administration in a learning environment including the education system, employee training and development, community education and/or alternative programs. She leverages her own achievements by paving the way for future leaders and motivating others to seek knowledge and opportunities.

Hamilton Winner:

Renata Hall

Renata Hall - Community - Hamilton

Renata Hall

Renata lives all things social justice! With an educational background in Psychology and Biology from Dalhousie University and Social Work from McMaster University, Renata looks to shake the room through her love of building community connections, challenging the status quo, and amplifying the voices of the margins. Renata is experienced in racialized peer support, counseling, and teaching through McMaster University, housing and homelessness support with YWCA Hamilton, and food equity and community network building through her grassroots initiative StreetEatzHamOnt, Renata brings passion and a sharp Black Feminist and Critical Race lens to every table. She is presently situated in the mental health sector within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Renata is a liberating, empowering, and critical force across the Hamilton community.

Hamilton Nominees

Catherine (Cathy) O’Donnell

As Director of Security Services at Mohawk College, Cathy O’Donnell’s vision of training her teams to respond to any issue has been instrumental to ensuring the safety of Mohawk’s students, employees and guests. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, where her leadership helped to prepare the college to manage an unprecedented crisis that challenged our community in many ways. Cathy is a respected leader among Ontario’s campus security professionals and is often approached by others in the field to share her expertise, which contributes to the safety and security of college and university campuses across Ontario.

Julie Schaafsma

Julie Schaafsma is a mother of a child in HWDSB, and the inspiring founder of Voices Against Bullying (VAB). In October 2019, Julie started a Facebook Group in response to the tragic death of Devan Selvey. The online group brings families together to share their stories and resources around bullying, seek mutual peer support, and find real help. The group expanded quickly to over 2500 members. Julie has been a leader who has led with the goal of always creating positive, constructive change within the school system. With a strong online community backing her, she has been able to actively help families resolve bullying issues and she has become a trusted community partner of HWDSB as they shift and change their protocols and procedures.

Kelly Lazure-Valconi

Kelly is an integral member of the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, supporting all staff in every role. She is responsible for Employee Assistance Services, providing system in-services; and is also a member of the System Crisis Response Team.  Kelly provides annual statistical reporting for HWCDSB and  serves as primary liaison with the community service sector related to adult services. Kelly provides consultation related to staff mental health, including associated protocols and policy and provides support to the Mental Health Strategy of the Board. She is involved in numerous internal and external committees and working groups and is the lead facilitator of the board’s Leadership Program, offering tools for aspiring leaders.

Lisa Radha Weaver

For the past 3-1/2 years, Lisa Radha Weaver has been the Director, Collections and Program Development at Hamilton Public Library. In this short time, she has spearheaded several policies, programs and projects, each aimed at improving life for people of all walks of life, throughout the community. Hamilton residents benefit from her advocacy which has included: eliminating fines to improve access to library services, donating hundreds of books to start a library at the Hamilton Detention Centre, donating books to schools and parents of newborns, and building and strengthening partnerships with local organizations such as McMaster University, Wesley Urban Ministries, Adult Basic Education and other library systems. Lisa also volunteers at Ronald McDonald House and at COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Mary Ann Starcevic

Mary Ann Starcevic is an educator, wife, daughter and proud mother. Her passion is to help students feel a sense of belonging by giving them opportunities to speak their truth, make new friends and work to make a difference in their schools, through initiatives such as  starting book clubs, the Health Action Team and Student Council. She has connected students to community partners such as the Hamilton Public Library and Public Health in an effort to expand each student’s community support network. She has worked to make meaningful connections with staff, parents and students as the Mental Health Lead at her school and in doing so, has helped to break the stigma around mental health issues.

Myrtle Greve

Inspired by a grandmother who obtained a university degree in the 1920’s, Myrtle became a social worker, and has spent 30 years developing VON Markham/Hamilton home support services. Her commitment to women’s education led to volunteering with the Canadian Federation of University Women. Her accomplishments include: CFUW Hamilton past-president; provincial chair legislation/education; Advocate, Graduate Women International, empowering women worldwide through education; Member, National Board of Charitable Trust, along with local clubs provides $1,000,000+ in scholarships annually; Chair, Hamilton scholarship program: McMaster/Brock Universities, Mohawk College, local CAS; Lead, improving home care, through speakers, petitions, MPP outreach; CFUW resolution to add Home Care to the Canada Health Act; and, Representative poverty/homelessness issues, CFUW Ontario’s Advocacy Committee, drawing on knowledge from Hamilton’s Roundtable on Poverty and Basic Income Network.

Renata Hall - Community - Hamilton

Renata Hall

Renata lives all things social justice! With an educational background in Psychology and Biology from Dalhousie University and Social Work from McMaster University, Renata looks to shake the room through her love of building community connections, challenging the status quo, and amplifying the voices of the margins. Renata is experienced in racialized peer support, counseling, and teaching through McMaster University, housing and homelessness support with YWCA Hamilton, and food equity and community network building through her grassroots initiative StreetEatzHamOnt, Renata brings passion and a sharp Black Feminist and Critical Race lens to every table. She is presently situated in the mental health sector within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Renata is a liberating, empowering, and critical force across the Hamilton community.

Dr. Rosa da Silva

Rosa da Silva is an Associate Professor and McMaster Distinguished Teaching and Learning Fellow. She is an outstanding, innovative and visionary Teaching Professor, honored with numerous awards (McMaster Student Union, McMaster President, and Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities) for her dedication to post-secondary education and her innovative interdisciplinary curriculum design that enhances student learning and engagement. She is authentic, collaborative, generous with her time and supportive to students and colleagues alike. She exudes a genuine love and passion for all things science – igniting curiosity and passion in students (especially women) as she encourages them to pursue their dreams in STEM and chart their own paths. Dr. da Silva is an innovative STEM leader and an exemplary Woman of Distinction.

Susan Denburg - Community - Hamilton

Susan Denburg

Susan Denburg has led a prolific and impactful career as a visionary leader, passionate and inspirational community volunteer and sought-after mentor and role model. A Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, she oversees the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative and champions the University’s commitment to research in aging. She was instrumental in launching the Faculty’s Indigenous Health Initiative and has supported the advancement of professionalism, diversity and inclusivity at McMaster and beyond. Her extensive community efforts have addressed challenges of innovative and compassionate care for the elderly. Susan leaves a legacy of mentorship and leadership, and her impact will endure for years to come.

2023 Women of Distinction Awards nominations are open NOMINATE TODAY!

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